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Album: Saliba Douaihy (Lebanese, 1912-1994)

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Born in Ehden on 14 Sept 1912. After an apprenticeship with the Habib Srour (1860-1938) in Beirut, he studied from 1932 to 1936 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1934 he received the top award for drawing at the school and later exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Francais. After graduating in 1936, he returned to Lebanon, opening a studio in Beirut, and becoming well known in the early 1940s for his frescoes in the Maronite church at Diman. At the same time his paintings of Lebanese life and the countryside came to public notice when he exhibited at the gallery of the Hotel St-Georges, Beirut, though by the late 1940s he had begun to simplify the style of his work. In 1950 he moved to New York, where his paintings became increasingly abstract, consisting of flat forms of brilliant colour with hard straight edges. Although he was influenced by the artistic life around him, and by his acquaintance with Rothko, Hans Hofmann and Ad Reinhardt, he did not join any group or movement. He became an American citizen in 1963 and in 1966 confirmed his reputation with a one-man show at the Contemporaries Gallery, New York. He also continued to produce representational religious works, for example in 1955 painting 27 panels for the newly constructed church of Mar Hanna near Zgharta in Lebanon. In 1971 he worked in stained glass at the Maronite convent church at Annaya in Lebanon, where he employed for the first time his own technique in which the coloured glass was built up in overlapping layers, without lead bars. A further commission, completed in 1978, resulted in 65 stained-glass windows for the church of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon, at Jamaica Plain, near Boston, MA. He spent in London four years (1982 – 1986) where he got married. He then moved to Paris in 1989 and finally back to New York where he died on Friday 21 January 1994.
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